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How to Repair a Wooden Chair Seat

Stephanie Daniels

As soon as splits appear in the seats of wooden chairs or the seat piece tears up, the chair is most often carted away to a landfill or burned as firewood. Instead of tossing that broken chair aside and draining your pockets to find a replacement chair that matches your other furniture, make your own repairs or replace the chair seat entirely on your own.

Repair Chairs

Repair a chair seat yourself and save money.
  1. Repair a split wooden chair seat by covering the crack caused by the splitting seat and pushing the split sides of the seat back together. Turn the chair upside-down and have an assistant press the pieces of the seat tightly together.

  2. Drive nails or screws down into the underside of the wooden seat on one side of the crack and angle toward the other side of the seat. Your assistant must keep pressing on the sides of the chair seat.

  3. Drive nails or screws into the wooden seat piece from the other side of the crack split and angle it toward and into the other side of the split. Screws will hold the two split pieces together better than wood nails, so use screws if possible. Continue placing nails or screws along the sides of the crack split every 1 inch apart.

  4. Turn the seat back on its legs and sand the seat to remove the existing varnish or paint. Apply putty over the crack and smooth it down with the putty knife and sandpaper. Allow the putty to dry overnight and then paint or re-varnish the chair seat.

Replacing Rotted Seats

  1. Remove the old seat from the chair by first removing the chair back from the back part of the chair seat. The chair back slats are set into drilled holes and are secured with glue. To remove the seat back, apply glue solvent along the bottom of each slat to loosen the glue in each drilled hole.

  2. Wiggle the chair back and pull each slat out of its slot in the back of the chair. Turn the chair over and sit it down on the seat and repeat the first step by applying glue solvent around the tops of the chair legs to loosen the legs from their drilled slots and wiggle the legs off the chair.

  3. Measure the chair seat according to seat thickness, width and depth. Make a tracing of the seat's shape to make cutting a replacement easier and use the measurements to obtain a replacement piece.

  4. Cut out the necessary shape for the replacement seat piece, using tracing paper and a jigsaw. Sand down the edges and corner of the seat and use the tracing paper to mark where each drilled hole for the chair back slats and chair legs should go.

  5. Drill the holes in appropriate spots and sizes and apply a generous about of wood glue into each hole and reattach the legs and back of the chair. Wipe away excess glue and then repair or stain the chair seat to match the rest of the chairs in your set or to match your room décor.